Joel Hanley played well in his NHL playoff debut in the Dallas Stars' 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 that tied the series 2-2, but the defenseman won't be available for Friday night's pivotal Game 5.
Hanley is out with an upper-body injury, so the Stars are going to have to make a change on defense as they take on the Blues tonight (8:30 p.m. CT; NBCSN; KTCK) in St. Louis.
Taylor Fedun took Hanley's place on the third defense pair with Ben Lovejoy in this morning's skate at Enterprise Center. Dillon Heatherington and Gavin Bayreuther skated as the fourth defense pair.
"We are looking towards Fedun, but Heatherington and Bayreuther are our options," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "I think with all the injuries we went through in the year, especially November and December, all these guys have played important minutes and important games for us and helped us make the playoffs. So, we're comfortable with any of them going in now."
[ROMAN REIGNS: How Polak's positive influence is felt throughout the Stars' lineup]
As for the status of Hanley, he did not make the trip to St. Louis and is day to day.
"Unfortunately, he was not going to be able to play tonight, so we kept him back (in Dallas) to get more treatment so that he is available on Sunday," Montgomery said.
The Stars are also without defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who has missed all the games in the St. Louis series with a lower-body injury. Oleksiak stayed back in Dallas as well.
There are no other expected lineup changes for the Stars tonight. The forward lines are expected to be the same as last game including Tyler Seguin centering Jason Dickinson and Mats Zuccarello and Roope Hintz centering Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. Those two lines and all six players were productive in Wednesday's 4-2 win in Dallas.
Video: Stars ready to ramp up emotion for Game 5
Ben Bishop, of course, is in goal. He is coming off a 27-save effort on Wednesday.
Tonight's Game 5 is a pivotal one in the series, which is now down to a best-of-three. One team is going to be one win away from advancing after tonight, and the other is going to be on the brink of elimination.
The Blues have home-ice advantage, including in tonight's fifth game, but the Stars are 3-2 on the road in the playoffs and have won in St. Louis, taking Game 2 of the series.
"It really doesn't matter where we play a hockey game," said Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy.
[OFFICIAL WATCHING PARTY: Join the Stars on Victory Plaza outside AAC to watch Game 5 on the videoboard]
Emotions ran high in Wednesday's game, especially late in the second period when Blues forward David Perron slashed Bishop, and Stars captain Jamie Benn and Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington got into an altercation.
The Stars don't want to get caught up in that tonight, instead focusing on what they need to do to win the game.
"Sometimes it is hard to contain when you are in the Stanley Cup playoffs because it is so important," said Zuccarello. "Every game matters, every shift matters, so you can only just try to play whistle to whistle, and we can do our best at that. Obviously, it happens, but we don't worry about that at all.
"We've got to play our game, we've got to go out and play the Dallas Stars hockey that we know. That's going to give us the best chance."
Blues look to 'hit the reset button' at home
Like the Stars, the Blues have been here before.
They were tied 2-2 in their first first-round series with Winnipeg and took Game 5 of the series on the road after losing Game 4 on the road. After winning the first two games of that series on the road, they lost Games 3 and 4 at home before their Game 5 win.
This time, they'll have home-ice in the pivotal fifth game.
"I think now for us, we've just got to hit the reset button," said Blues defenseman Colton Parayko. "We're in a really good spot right now. It's a best-of-three, we have home ice. … We're not frustrated here or anything. So we're excited, and we're looking forward to Game 5 now. The series is tied, so like I said, we're in a good spot."
The Blues will make one lineup change tonight, bringing Joel Edmundson back in on defense and scratching Robert Bortuzzo. The forward lines stay the same and Jordan Binnington, of course, is in goal.
Game 5: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues (Series tied 2-2)
Where: Enterprise Center
When: 8:30 p.m.
Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM/96.7-FM
Stars projected lineup
Jason Dickinson - Tyler Seguin - Mats Zuccarello
Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Jason Spezza - Justin Dowling - Tyler Pitlick
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Taylor Fedun - Ben Lovejoy
Scratched: Mattias Janmark, Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie, Julius Honka, Landon Bow, Dillon Heatherington, Gavin Bayreuther, Denis Gurianov, Joel L'Esperance, Nick Caamano, Adam Mascherin
Injured: Joel Hanley (upper body), Jamie Oleksiak (lower body)
Injured Reserve: Martin Hanzal (back), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Marc Methot (knee surgery)
Blues projected lineup
Jaden Schwartz - Ryan O'Reilly - Vladimir Tarasenko
Brayden Schenn - Oskar Sundqvist - David Perron
Pat Maroon - Tyler Bozak - Robert Thomas
Robby Fabbri - Ivan Barbashev - Alexander Steen
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn - Carl Gunnarsson
Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Michael Del Zotto, Sammy Blais, Zach Sanford, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Jared Coreau
For complete postseason coverage, visit Stars Playoff Central.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.